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Get access to providers and specialty care services without impacting your IHS benefits. 855-752-6749 ConnectforHealthCO.com 2 | NATIVE MAX MAGAZINE




1. Nathalie Standingcloud: Storytelling in Ink Muscogee Creek, Colville, Salish-Kootenai, and Cherokee tattoo artist and actress Nathalie Standingcloud is slowly solidifying her unique style of bringing her culturally-inspired artwork to life by way of tattooing in the tattooing world’s final frontier.

2. Warming Up this Winter Time to warm up this winter, featuring Native American-made coats and jackets.


Welcome to our List of Content, everything that we have in every issue.

Modern-Day Warpaint Meet six Native American makeup artists and enthusiasts who are reclaiming and embracing their Native beauty and showcasing their heritage and pride through makeup.



Combining Couture with Culture


DOTŁ’IZHI Boss Babe Earring collection


Style Spotlight: Kristen Gentry


Sister Sky Bath & Body



Cultural & Contemporary Cooking


Welcome to the Native American Heritage Issue, featuring Muscogee Creek, Colville, Salish-Kootenai, and Cherokee tattoo artist and actress Nathalie Standingcloud on the cover. Nathalie is slowly solidifying her unique style of bringing her culturally-inspired artwork to life by way of tattooing in the tattooing world’s final frontier–Oklahoma. In this issue, we present to you Native American people who are proud of their heritage and how they share their culture with the world. We also feature six talented Native American and Indigenous makeup artists and enthusiasts who showcase the beauty of their Native heritage and pride through creative makeup looks. With makeup, they reclaim and embrace their Native beauty while taking on the world like warriors, wearing modern-day warpaint. It’s time to warm up this winter with our favorite styles and designs from Native American fashion brands from throughout Indian Country. Lastly, the issue wouldn’t be complete without food: we feature five Native American chefs, caterers, and foodies who are combining ancestral ingredients and techniques they’ve learned with modern recipes and dishes in new creative ways, challenging the negative perspective of Indigenous cuisine by bringing Native culture into a contemporary context. Enjoy the issue.



g n i n i b m o C e r u lt u C h it w e r u t Cou Fashionista and social worker Alyssa Willie (Choctaw/Seminole) combines her love of Native American couture with her culture. Photography by Kelly Holmes (Lakota)


Top, Honey Bay, $26.00, shophoneybay. com; kimono, Jamie Okuma, price upon request, jokuma.com; necklace, Tina Osceola, price upon request, instagram. com/beadworkbytina; earrings, Native Sparkles Collective, instagram.com/ nativesparklescollective; Stephanie Johns, instagram.com/simply.savage. steffs


Top: Reclaim Your Power, instagram. com/reclaimyourpower; earrings, Native Sparkles Collective, instagram. com/nativesparklescollective; skirt: Glamyr, instagram.com/glamyrdesigns



Boss Babe Earrings for Native Boss Babes Apache/Yaqui designer Alicia Velasquez of DOTŁ’IZHI recently released the all-new Boss Babe Collection, a collection of earrings inspired by Native American boss babes.


About the new collection On September 12, DOTŁ’IZHI released the Boss Babe Collection, a collection of beaded earrings named after real-life Native boss babes. “This collection was inspired by all you boss babes out there!” says Velasquez. “I see you and I’m very proud of you!” This collection will feature ten amazing boss babes from different backgrounds and cultures.

Florinda’s Earrings These boss babe earrings are named after Florinda Wilson, a Diné small business owner and blogger of Sparkle Momm. This “mompreneur” is a creative multitasking woman who bravely manages the demands of running a business as an entrepreneur and the blessings of motherhood all at the same time. Florinda’s Earrings, $120.00, dotlizhi.com 10 | NATIVE MAX MAGAZINE

Mrs. Lachach’s Earrings These boss babe earrings are named after Diné entrepreneur Ahsaki Chachere, the founder of Ah-Shi Beauty and Skincare. Mrs. Lachach’s Earrings, $125.00, dotlizhi.com

Mrs. Velasquez’s Earrings These boss babe earrings are named after the founder and creator of the Boss Babe Earrings collection herself: DOTŁ’IZHI founder Alicia Velasquez (Apache, Yaqui, Spanish and French). Mrs. Velasquez’s Earrings, $123.00, dotlizhi.com

Valentina’s Earrings These boss babe earrings are named after Valentina Aragon (Diné), the co-founder and designer behind couture brand ACONAV. Valentina’s Earrings, $125.00, dotlizhi.com

Piper’s Earrings These boss babe earrings are named after Piper Bridwell, an Oklahoma-based artist.


Piper B’s Earrings, $120.00, dotlizhi.com NATIVE MAX MAGAZINE | 11

Style Spotlight: Kristen Gentry Choctaw artist Kristen Gentry is passionate about preserving her traditional Southeastern tribal culture, including her jewelry. THE EDGE Choctaw artist Kristin Gentry is passionate about using her art to create different ways to preserve her traditional Southeastern tribal culture of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma. She uses her art to educate and restore the beauty of her people’s journey to where they are as Chahta Okla (Choctaw People) today. Through her art, she continues to find more of her identity as a Chahta Ohoyo (Choctaw Woman) and Ishki (Mother). She understands that the need for her cultural art is necessary for the future of her daughter and her people. “Through my art, I explore how the symbolic meanings of the designs influence our cultural traditions today and influence our larger communities,” Kristen explains. She works to involve her community through education and being the voice for Native American artists and Native American women in today’s society. Kristen works as a professional visual artist in the areas of relief and monotype printmaking, painting, jewelry, and photography. She also works as a writer, designer, and curator. She often photographs families in their tribal regalia and creates designs and patterns from traditional clothing in her painting and prints.

Artist Kristen Gentry. (Photo credit: Amber Clark)


Dragon Fly Acrylic Earrings, $23.00, kristengentry.com (Photo: Kristen Gentry. Model: Kele Hasse [Cherokee])

Sinti Acrylic Glitter Earrings, $22.00, kristengentry.com


Tulip Acrylic Earrings, price/availability upon request, kristengentry.com



Sister Sky With the health and beauty market now blossoming with Indigenous brands that resonate with consumers who want great products with compelling stories, Native American women-owned company Sister Sky continues to set itself apart with the authenticity of their story and products.


hat started as a hobby of making body care products in the kitchen to sell at the occasional craft fair turned into a life-changing quest to create an all-natural lotion that would soothe severe eczema. With the health and beauty market now blossoming with Indigenous brands that resonate with consumers who want great products with compelling stories, Native American women-owned company Sister Sky continues to set itself apart with the authenticity of their story and products. Sister Sky was started over twenty years ago by real-life Native American sisters who began crafting hand-made herbal products in their kitchens from recipes handed down by their ancestors. Stephanie and Marina Turningrobe (Spokane/Pauquachin First Nation) honor the Native American herbal legacy by infusing herbs and oils used for centuries as natural remedies Sweetgrass and White Willow as best-selling product lines. The sisters continue to make their products by hand in Washington and are certified “Made by American Indians.” The family-owned company gives a portion of sales to Native American non-profits throughout Indian Country.

Monica Simeon. (Photo: courtesy)

Thank you for joining us! Where are you both from? My sister and I are both enrolled citizens of the Spokane tribe on our father’s side. We are also Pauquachin First Nation from British Columbia, Canada, on our mother’s side. We grew up on the Spokane Indian reservation, which is located 45 miles northeast of the city of Spokane in Washington state. Who are the founders of Sister Sky? What inspired you two to start Sister Sky? My sister, Marina TurningRobe, and I started Sister Sky as a hobby-based business in the early ’90s. Back then, crafting was a new thing; making soaps, candles, and lotions with natural ingredients were just catching on. We made body care products in our kitchens and packed them up to sell at weekend craft fairs. It was excellent training, and we learned about production, packaging, and pricing. We


Sister Sky’s White Willow with Chamomile Bath Bombs, $16.00

Sister Sky’s Sweetgrass Bath Bombs, $16.00

Sister Sky’s Kevin’s Care Body Lotion, $17.00

didn’t know a lot about the beauty industry, but we loved working together, and we were determined to start our own business. Sometimes businesses start to solve a problem, and that is true for Sister Sky. My son Kevin was born in 1994 with severe eczema. My hobby turned into a quest to create a natural lotion that would soothe his skin naturally. As I created a lotion in my kitchen, I wondered what we used before we had stores. I asked, “What natural herbs from the earth did our ancestors use to treat and heal?” That became the anchor of our product line and blossomed into our trademark line, “Natural Solutions from Native Roots.” One of the first products we created was light and soothing lotion for dry skin. My son tested it, and it worked so well to soothe his extremely dry skin that I named the lotion after him: “Kevin’s Care.” Today, our heritage product remains one of our best-selling products and has guided us in product development. The health and beauty market is blossoming with Indigenous brands that resonate with consumers who want great products with compelling stories. What makes Sister Sky exciting, and what different story side does Sister Sky bring to the health and beauty market? I love that Indigenous brands are being resourceful, creative, and innovative with products. With social media, Indigenous brands can build a customer community. We are natural storytellers. It’s deeply embedded in our culture. As we share stories about how we started our companies and what makes our products so unique, it comes from a place of authenticity, and that’s the hook; that’s the exciting part because real authenticity can’t be faked. Consumers love a good story, but ultimately the product has to work for the buyer. They have to love something about the lotion, shampoo, or bath bomb. Products have to serve a purpose, solve a problem, or create an experience. Sometimes they do one thing or all three, but it’s the product performance that will get repeat buyers. What are some of the ancient herbal wisdom and ingredients Sister Sky uses in the products? Long before medical technology was available, pioneer doctors relied on Native American knowledge of nature to treat illness. Our ancestors freely shared their healing wisdom of plants, roots, and berries with earlier settlers. Native American herbal treatments were so effective; many have been refined into present-day medicine. Today, natural products are mainstream, but it’s essential to acknowledge that our Native American herbal legacy was the beginning of using natural herbs for healing: aloe vera for burns, willow bark for pain, witch hazel to soothe–those were all used hundreds of years ago by our ancestors. What worked back then still works today, and that’s what we share with our customers. How does Sister Sky incorporate meaningful

plant traditions concerning nature’s healing herbs from Mother Earth to showcase your Native heritage to your customers? Today, seven out of the ten most popular herbal supplements on the market were historically used by Native Americans to treat and cure illness. As Natives, we have always had a more holistic way and consumers today appreciate that. We aren’t formulating products with proprietary ingredients; instead, we choose to exclude harsh chemicals and incorporate herbs that have a benefit and can be traced back to our ancestors’ use, which we share that proudly. For example, horsetail herb serves as a natural protective barrier for the skin and is better than synthetic ceramides widely used today. Furthermore, our ancestors treated skin rashes with a solution made from pounded horsetail herb and water. Horsetail herb is an ingredient in Sister Sky’s Kevin’s Care Lotion for dry skin.

e-commerce platform that played in our favor; then COVID-19 hit in March. We didn’t have to rush to build a website or social media pages. People are buying online now more than ever, and our success in the future will be dependent on how well we engage and create inclusion with our virtual community. Online purchasing is a behavior that is here to stay. We strive daily to make a positive experience for our community consumers when they unwrap their order and use our products. Paying attention to small things like order packing integrity, order accuracy, and fast shipping is foundational for Sister Sky. Continuing to build social media content is also critical for our future. I am always reminding the team to create and post content, and they are still mindful of being culturally-authentic with posted content.

What are some of the creativity, techniques, and recipes you know of that you apply to your products today? We formulate products that are in alignment with our trademark line, “Natural Solutions from Native Roots.” “Does the product solve a problem, and how are we infusing natural ingredients and telling the story of historical use by our ancestors?” is what we ask ourselves when we create new products. There is a demand for natural products in the marketplace, and that plays in our favor. Also, we get to share with consumers how Native Americans have been the original herbal experts in this country. This is our aboriginal land, and we have always been connected to our environment. It’s honoring and impactful to remind mainstream consumers of our culture’s herbal wisdom. The Sister Sky team consists of Native women. How is this beneficial, and what’s the dynamic of having an all-Native American women team? Much of our work is both creative and strategic. It takes a tremendous amount of collaboration to create campaigns and messaging with heart, and authenticity is a process that takes deliberation. The Native women on our teamwork brilliantly together in this environment. We are supportive and respectful of each other. Also, my sister and I are mindful to mentor in a positive way. We are working with next-generation entrepreneurs, and we want to empower them to be bold, take chances, and learn along the way. Sister Sky is a family-owned company. Additionally, we care deeply about our employees and consider them family as well. I think Native entrepreneurs bring that cultural value into the companies we build. My sister and I make companies that sell goods and services, but we also build community with our consumers and family with our staff. Consumers appreciate this, and it resonates.

Sister Sky’s White Willow Body Wash and Body Lotion, both $12.50


What does the future look like for you and your business? Sister Sky has been selling products on the internet for twenty years. We have always had an



Cultural & Contemporary Cooking These 5 Native American chefs, caterers, and foodies are combining ancestral ingredients and techniques they’ve learned with modern recipes and dishes in new creative ways, challenging the negative perspective of Indigenous cuisine by bringing Native culture into a contemporary context. Story by Kelly Holmes (Lakota)

Some of Kimberly’s and Brandon’s catering set up for a wedding. (Photo: Tarin Hartman of Tayhart Photography)


Love for Food and Eachother Husband and wife duo Brandon Brave Heart and Kimberly Tilsen-Brave Heart, chefs, caterers, and owners of Etiquette Catering Co. (Photo credit: Tarin Hartman of Tayhart Photography)

Some of Kimberly’s and Brandon’s catering set up for a wedding. (Photo: Tarin Hartman of Tayhart Photography)

Kimberly Tilsen-Brave Heart and Brandon Brave Heart (Chef & Caterer, Etiquette Catering) Husband and wife duo Brandon Brave Heart (Northern Cheyenne) and Kimberly Tilsen-Brave Heart (Oglala Lakota and Jewish) are chefs, caterers, and owners of Etiquette Catering Co. This Indigenous-owned and operated company offers beautiful and nourishing food that highlights Indigenous cuisine from the region. With Etiquette, Kimberly and Brandon prepare all dishes with organic, locally-sourced, and fresh ingredients while applying premier cooking techniques and cultural food preparation. Born and raised on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation before moving to Minnesota, Kimberly had a unique upbringing raised by a single father, Mark Tilsen, the President and founder of Tanka Bar. Since the young age of ten, Kimberly has been cooking since growing up in a household full of men– with her father and two brothers–led her to prepare food out of necessity. But over time, she has fallen in love with the limitless opportunities that cooking provided. Cooking traditional recipes from both of her cultures while incorporating a modern twist, Kimberly’s creativity, experimentation, and attention to detail brings incredible dishes that taste like love in every single bite to life. Kimberly was extremely entrepreneurial from a young age, thanks to traveling with her father, Mark’s music production company. He toured throughout the country with bands such as Willie Nelson, Bonnie Raitt, and Indigenous. Kimberly curated and designed either the green room or hospitality suites for all the artists in every city they traveled to. From there, she connected with florists and caterers, recognizing the importance of genuine hospitality and that love is all in the details.

Brandon Brave Heart is an enrolled citizen of the Northern Cheyenne Tribe of Lame Deer, Montana. He was also born and raised on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, fully immersed in the traditional Lakota culture and ceremonies guided by his parents and grandparents. He spent much of his childhood adventuring, hunting, and exploring on his family’s land, learning cultural practices that have impacted his ability to create thoughtful food that comes from the earth and heart. He learned to sing with his brothers and father around the big drum and are often asked to sing today. Brandon specializes in seeking only the best ingredients and always works with local producers that provide the very best quality. He’s the company’s grill master and protein specialist. Brandon’s balance of intensity and gentle humor creates the perfect partnership, not only in love but in business as well. What are some of the beautiful, nourishing foods Etiquette offer? How do you make sure to incorporate Indigenous cuisine, and why is this important? The most sought after thing on our menu is our slow-roasted buffalo cooked in rendered duck fat and served with Hasselback apple vinegar demi-glaze squash. It’s beautiful and delicious. It will melt in your mouth. This unique dish has traditional ingredients but cooked in an elevated manner that’s approachable to everyone. We try to utilize as many locally-sourced ingredients as possible that are native to our region. I believe it is essential because Native cuisine is the authentic American cuisine of this country. It is also the food that fed our ancestors and why we all exist today. Kimberly, you’re also Jewish. How do you utilize both your cultures, Jewish and Lakota, while incorporating a modern twist to your cooking? I was raised mostly among my Jewish family in the Twin Cities. They belie-



ved that cooking created connection and togetherness. They were utilizing the very best of fresh ingredients, spices, and made-from-scratch recipes. I use both Jewish recipes as well as Lakota recipes taught to me by my aunties and mother. What are some of the premier cooking techniques, cultural food preparations, and recipes you learned over the years you apply to your cooking today? We have learned to field harvest a buffalo, prepare traditional foods, and make a bone broth utilized in many of our recipes. We have also become known for gorgeous charcuterie boards using locally-cured meats and artisan cheeses. Kimberly, you mentioned growing up in a household of men raised by a single father. How did you learn how to cook? What were some of the things you knew that you apply to your business today? I am a fifth-generation entrepreneur and learned that organization was key to the success of any entrepreneur at an early age. I learned to cook from my grandmother Rachel, my aunt Barb, and my Aunt Joci. I loved the smell of their homes when you entered; something was always cooking. I think cooking, exploring, and making mistakes is essential. Not everything I have prepared is a smash-hit out of the gate. It takes work to perfect a recipe. Brandon, what were some of the lessons instilled in you from hunting from an early age? What and how are you able to bring those virtues and cultural practices to your cooking? Hunting requires patience and perseverance, and respect for our elements and environment. When we cook, we cook from our hearts. Honoring the ingredients in which we prepare our food, ensuring not to waste any of the animals, and thinking of the ones we are preparing our food for in prayer. I think that’s why our food and presentation is so unique. How do you both work as a team together for Etiquette? We have been married for fifteen years; we have three

children and are fostering our nephew. These same virtues of love and respect are how we work together. But most importantly, not to take anything too seriously. Brandon constantly teases; you will always find humor and good food coming out of our kitchen. Brandon is also the muscle: cooking, organizing, and doing all the heavy lifting. Kimberly is the company’s face because she’s not shy, she’s generous with people, and an expert in branding. We manage the business together, relying on each other’s strengths.


We talked about incorporating regional Indigenous cuisine and cultural food prep earlier; how do you teach that to others? Why is that vital? How does this showcase both of your Native heritage to your clients? I think it’s crucial to showcase Native people positively and show that we are complex and beautifully-resilient people of our cultural teachings and history. Our food is the foundation of our resistance to colonialism. Before

“Native cuisine is the authentic American cuisine of this country. It is also the food that fed our ancestors and why we all exist today.” COVID-19, we had weekly cooking classes in our private dining room. I think it’s important to share so that traditional teachings carry on for future generations. What does the future look like for your family and your business? COVID-19 has hit our business significantly, but we will persevere. We will continue to be innovative and stay relevant as we move through this challenging time. You can sign up on our website to keep in the know: www. etiquettecateringco.com.

Brandon and Kimberly, chefs, caterers, and owners of Etiquette Catering Co, pictured with their small family whom they teach the ancestral knowledge they learned. (Photo: Tarin Hartman of Tayhart Photography)



Chef and food activist Brian Yazzie. (Photo: Vincent Johnson [Red Lake Nation]) poverty status. “I’m utilizing my YouTube channel as a tool to connect with those interested in Indigenous foods,” he explains. Though putting his catering company on hold due to COVID-19, Brian keeps himself busy. Brian was recently appointed Executive Chef at Gatherings Café located inside the Minneapolis American Indian Center and is currently working with other chefs and volunteers to deliver support to Native elder communities within the Twin Cities during the pandemic. Brian is also a part of a grassroots collective called “Dennehotso Families Covid-19 Relief Project”, which focuses on providing long-term supplies for families and elders in his hometown of Dennehotso. Despite being closed to the public due to COVID-19, Brian and Gatherings Cafe are feeding Native elders in the community through a project called #FeedingOurElders. So far, the project serves 200 meals daily, five days a week since March. The philosophy is “Food Is Medicine,” in which the project implements at least 50% native ingredients to help elders keep their immune system healthy, especially during the pandemic. The grassroots collective Brian is a part of the “Dennehotso Families COVID-19 Relief Project”. Alongside Dennehotso community members Taralyn Adakai-Fotu and Deidre Boyd, the focus is on supplying those in need during this pandemic. The collective has provided the senior and boarding school with traditional native in-

Brian Yazzie “Yazzie The Chef ” (Chef & Food Justice Activist) Brian Yazzie, better known as Yazzie The Chef, is a Diné chef and food justice activist from the farming community Dennehotso, Arizona, on the Navajo Nation, but currently based out of Saint Paul, Minnesota. Brian is the founder of catering company Intertribal Foodways, a YouTube creator under channel Yazzie The Chef TV, and a delegate of Slow Food Turtle Island Association. Brian is also a member of I-Collective, a collective of cooks, chefs, seed keepers, farmers, foragers, and scholars focused on bringing awareness to the cultural appropriations of Indigenous foods of the Americas. Brian focuses on bringing together hyper-local Indigenous ingredients from the streams, rivers, and forests to revitalize healthy Indigenous cuisine, which allows him to bring creativity and ancestral knowledge through modern techniques. His career is devoted to the betterment of tribal communities through wellness and health. He’s made TV and media appearances, including PBS and Hulu, to name a few. Brian keeps himself busy with his YouTube channel “Yazzie The Chef TV,” which he started in 2016 after realizing that most tribal communities are still on third-world

“Cooking in two worlds by using ancestral knowledge with modern techniques, I practice Indigenizing kitchen spaces for the next generation of culinarians.” gredients and gave hay and livestock feed for the community’s animals. They also supplied loaded backpacks with bison jerky from Tanka Bars and tepary beans from Ramona Farms. These are two projects that Brian’s currently a part of. Occasionally, Brian hosts virtual cooking classes and teachings for families, schools, and organizations. How do you incorporate ancestral knowledge through modern techniques in your cooking? Why is this important? Cooking in two worlds by using ancestral knowledge with modern techniques, I practice


THE INSIDER indigenizing kitchen spaces for the next generation of culinarians. As an Indigenous chef, this is important to me because only a handful of us do this type of work, and we need to be progressive to bring awareness and reclaim our original food cultures of North America. How do you revitalize healthy indigenous cuisine with hyper-local naturally-grown indigenous ingredients? Could you give us an example? I first support local and regional Native farmers, foragers, hunters, and vendors, before helping non-Natives. To me, this is the way to revitalize a cuisine that has been overshadowed by colonialism and manifest destiny. What are some of the creativity, cooking techniques, and cultural food preparations you know that you apply to your cooking today? I have attended countless intertribal food summits and community gatherings centered around food sovereignty, and I have made relationships with knowledge keepers and other chefs and cooks. Upon protocols, I am honored to practice ancestral and traditional methods taught with my cooking. How did you learn how to cook? What were some of the things you knew that you apply to your cooking today?


Chef and food activist Brian Yazzie. (Photo: courtesy)


Coming from a single-parent household and the youngest of eight siblings, I started cooking at seven. One day, the curiosity of knife tapping on a cutting board and aromatics of stew brought me into the kitchen to help my mother, and that is how I found my passion for cooking. I learn to use alternative binders and sweeteners. For example, I like to use dehydrated and powdered vegetables and fruits in my baking and cooking. I want to use agave syrup, maple syrup, birch syrup, and honey as alternative sweeteners, especially for our community members who are diabetic (allows them to stay below the glycemic line). What are some of your favorite recipes and dishes you prepare for your guests? Why are they the most important? I try to highlight staple ingredients within the land I am on. Wild rice is one of my favorite ingredients to use and is very versatile. This resilient staple can be served fresh with your favorite side dish. It can also be dry heat-toasted until puffed and used as a topping for desserts and entrees, or baked with as puffed wild rice can be ground into a flour for baking and as a binding agent. Side note: wild rice lake beds in northern Minnesota are in danger from pipeline companies and have to be protected for the future of our food sovereignty and culture. We talked about incorporating regional

Indigenous cuisine and cultural food prep earlier; how do you teach that to others? Why is that vital? And how does this showcase your Native heritage to your clients? I always share my story that cooking saved my life when I’m in the spaces of youth teachings and that they, too, can be positive role models leading by example. As an Indigenous man who has been through reservation poverty, gang-related activities on and off the reservation, juvenile and county detention centers, being stabbed and shot at, I believe sharing these types of historical generational trauma and healing through indigenous foodways is a way of teaching, and that is my focus. What does the future look like for you and your business? I have been busy through this pandemic, putting my mobile catering on hold while navigating a couple of community-based COVID-19 relief projects and taking on an Executive Chef position at one of only a few Native American-owned and operated establishments have been my focus. I wouldn’t have it any other way with a fantastic staff, a team of volunteers, and a supportive wife. At the cafe, we are in transition of rebranding with a new seasonal menu concept, and we plan for a re-grand opening in mid-January. Visit Brian’s YouTube channel at youtube. com/c/YazzieTheChefTV


“I love being creative in the kitchen. One of my favorite things to do is to find new ways to use Indigenous ingredients.” Alana Yazzie “The Fancy Navajo” (Food Blogger & Foodie) Alana Yazzie (Diné) is a fashion, food, and lifestyle blogger in Phoenix, Arizona that took Instagram and the blogosphere by storm with her airy, light, and fancy blog and IG profile, The Fancy Navajo. Alana created TheFancyNavajo.com as a lifestyle and food blog that follows her life as a contemporary Diné woman living in the city. Through her social media platforms and her blog, she shares recipes, fashion, and travels, all with a “fancy” Navajo twist. “My goal with The Fancy Navajo is to inspire others to embrace their culture no matter where they live,” Alana explains. “It is also a platform I can express my creativity and share my colorful world with others.” What makes Alana stand out is how often she includes and features Diné-infused dishes on her blog and Instagram, such as her popular blue corn mush recipes; not only does this present a little bit of her culture to the world, but this also teaches other Diné people who may not have grown up immersed in the culture to make heirloom recipes. Why did you decide to start a blog? What made you choose to include foods and recipes? I started my blog in 2014, and it came about because people wanted more in-depth recipes and information. At the time, Instagram was not like how it is now. There were caption limits, Instagram stories didn’t exist, and you could only share one picture. I needed a platform to share things on a larger scale, so I created TheFancyNavajo.com. When I started my blog, I knew I wanted to take a Lifestyle and Food blogger route because it offered more flexibility on what I could share. There were also not a lot of Native American lifestyle and food bloggers at the time. So, it was a niche community with food and recipes being the most popular content on TheFancyNavajo.com. What is the story behind your blog’s name, The Fancy Navajo? It came about from my Instagram community. I didn’t start as The Fancy Navajo and had a generic username at the beginning of 2014. However, I noticed I was gaining a large Native following, and people would comment on how “fancy” my photos were especially when I would post anything

related to Diné culture. At first, I didn’t understand why it was considered “fancy” because I was just me, and Navajo blue corn mush with gold cutlery and a vase of fresh flowers were normal. It hadn’t been seen before, and my community wanted to be fancy Navajo’s too, so thus began The Fancy Navajo. What is your favorite Diné-infused dish so far? My blue corn recipes are some of my favorite and are the most popular. One of the first recipes I shared on TheFancyNavajo.com was Fancy Navajo Blue Corn Cupcakes in 2014, and it’s one of my favorites because it has been made and shared so many times throughout the years. It’s a simple baked good that can be easily made at home and incorporates blue corn in a fun way. I always get excited when someone shares their Fancy Navajo creations, and it’s like I am baking along with them. What are your cooking inspirations? A famous chef, your mom, a cookbook, a blog? My biggest inspiration is my family. I grew up in a family where we were always connected by food. Some of my favorite memories are cooking with my mom, baking with my older brother, and waking up to my grandma’s cooking. I just love how it brings people together, and I want to emulate all those feelings and share that with everyone. Through The Fancy Navajo, people often share they didn’t grow up learning how to cook certain native recipes, and that also inspires me to share recipes. It’s never too late to learn a family recipe.

techniques, and cultural food preparations you know that you apply to your cooking today? I love being creative in the kitchen. One of my favorite things to do is to find new ways to use Indigenous ingredients. I like to call these “Fancy Navajo twists.” Some of my favorite recipes are Fancy Navajo Blue Corn Quiche and Fancy Navajo Boba Almond Milk Tea. You share a lot of traditional and heirloom recipes that you grew up with. How does this showcase your Native heritage to your readers? My community gets excited when they see one of their favorite Indigenous foods with a Fancy Navajo twist. Often, we don’t see Native food as being “fancy,” but it’s some of the fanciest foods I know. As a foodie, do you have an appreciation for Indigenous cuisine? Yes! It’s some of my favorite food. I love learning and trying new Indigenous cuisines. Thanks to social media, I have connected to say many Indigenous chefs and producers. There are so many ingredients and foods that I want to try! Visit Alana’s blog at thefancynavajo.com.

Traditional & Tasty Food blogger and known as The Fancy Navajo, Alana with her most popular one of the first recipes she shared on her blog, Fancy Navajo Blue Corn Cupcakes, which has been made and shared so many times throughout the years. (Photo: Jennifer Hubbell)

How do you incorporate ancestral knowledge through modern techniques in your cooking? Why is this important? Through The Fancy Navajo, I want to inspire others to think of ways to elevate or modify a recipe and be respectful to its origins and teachings. Some of the recipes I share, I learned how to make from my mom and grandma, which include traditional Navajo cooking utensils like stirring sticks and grinding stones. Not many people may have access to these tools, but I encourage my community to make the recipe still using what they have. I am still learning about my own Diné culture, and through my community, we are always learning something new together. What are some of the creativity, cooking

@thefancynavajo NATIVE MAX MAGAZINE | 21


Justin Phillips (Restauranteur & Caterer) Entrepreneur, restauranteur, and retired fireman Justin Phillips (Cherokee/Ponca) is certainly no stranger to running a restaurant or having his ancestral knowledge displayed in his signature cooking. Not only is there the classic Indian taco on his menu, but Justin includes his grandmother’s famous recipe for fried squash. He even makes it a point to harvest all ingredients–mainly produce–for his dishes locally from the region, revealing how Justin incorporates ancestral knowledge through modern techniques in his cooking. Justin’s first food ventures were the LeGrubs Catering Co. food truck, then LeGrubs at Tenkiller restaurant in Cherokee County on the beautiful Lake Tenkiller, where he served fresh and flavorful food by way of catering, food truck, and a boat–which delivered to customers scattered throughout Lake Tenkiller. The restaurant had the best outdoor view, as it was located at the highly famous Burnt Cabin Marina. Though he respectfully parted ways with Burnt Cabin Marina, Justin is currently gearing up to open his newest restaurant, The Bird and Bison, which will serve a comfort fusion vibe with an Indigenous flair. With local businesses’ help, Justin renovated and revamped a building that once housed a Subway and hair salon into a cozy, relaxing family restaurant with upscale vibes. The restaurant also features an intimate outdoor stage with plenty of room for outdoor seating, fire pits, games, and a tiki bar. He even had a smokehouse custom-built right next to the restaurant for steaks and BBQ. According to the buzz on social media, many in the area can hardly wait for The Bird and Bison to open up for business officially.

“There are plenty of Cherokee elders we’re listening to and learning from to help hone our skills.”

Chef Justin Phillips preparing a dish. (Photo: courtesy)

How did you learn how to cook? What were some of the things you learned that you apply to your cooking today? I learned how to cook from my grandmother. She always made plenty to eat, and it was never on time. That’s a good thing because you cannot rush perfection. She is my inspiration for putting my soul into my food. I want people to feel

Justin’s newest restaurant set to open very soon: The Bird & Bison.



THE INSIDER Home-grown & Homemade Some of Justin’s dishes served in his food truck or restaurants, which all incorporate all-natural, fresh and locally-sourced ingredients and produce. (Photos: courtesy)

at home in my restaurant. I want them to feel special. How do you incorporate ancestral knowledge through modern techniques in your cooking? Why is this important? The ancestral knowledge is essential to me because of the region we’re in. The vegetables are plentiful, and I would be foolish not to tap into these methods and resources. The flavors are fun to experiment with within the kitchen. Squash, for instance, is a beautiful color and texture when cooked and blended right. Great for presentation and aromatics! Those colors pop on that plate and still tie in my vision when using nice proteins like bison and venison. What sort of cuisine will you offer at your newest restaurant? At The Bird and Bison, we call our food “Comfort Fusion,”; an ode to classic favorites with our flair on things. On weekend nights, we will be a full-service, casual, and fine dining atmosphere, and look to be the culinary destination in Cherokee County. What are some of the creativity, cooking techniques, and cultural food preparations you know that you apply to your cooking today? Some of the cooking techniques we are offering here are smoking meats and cooking over an open flame. Our outside smokehouse doubles as a full-service kitchen and has viewing windows for the public to get a close look at our dinner service in the rawest form. We want it to be a spectacle, a perk you won’t get anywhere else in Cherokee County. We will cut bison steaks to order on weekend nights, bringing in fresh yellow squash for my grandmother’s fried squash recipe

and growing our own herbs for a compound butter, lavender lemonade herbal teas. We talked about incorporating regional Indigenous cuisine and cultural food prep earlier; how do you teach that to others? Why is that vital? How does this showcase your Native heritage to your clients? We will be learning as we go on this culinary journey. As a chef, I’m always on the lookout for knowledge of ingredients and techniques. We are looking to start out doing Indigenous specials on the weekends to get more in touch with our skills and ancestry. There are plenty of Cherokee elders we’re listening to and learning from to help hone our skills. Our clients deserve something special, something dear to the area and dear to our families. We bring change, dynamics, and passion. Do you have a favorite recipe or dish you love to serve your guests? We’re currently working with bison meat; it’s very lean, so we’re experimenting with different fats and butter. Duck fat will be a factor in our flavor mashup series, also wild plum and blackberry. What does the future look like for you and your business? The future for us looks bright, as we’re working on several new projects in the new year, and we’re sourcing local ingredients here in Cherokee County, with significant support from the locals and tourists alike. We can’t lose. Catch updates at facebook.com/thebirdandbison.



Chef Nico Albert. (Photo: courtesy)


Healing Indigenous Cuisine A few of Nico’s dishes, many of which she serves through her catering and consulting company Burning Cedar Indigenous Foods. (Photos: courtesy)

Nico Albert (Chef & Caterer) A citizen of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, Nico Albert is a self-taught chef, caterer, and student of traditional Indigenous cuisines based in Tulsa, Oklahoma. She began her culinary education at a very young age, growing up in California and Arizona, where she was very fortunate to grow up in a home where her mother made dinner mostly from scratch. Nico watched her mother cook regularly, often helping her. She also learned cooking from her father, who made sure nothing in the fridge went to waste. Watching her mother and late grandmother garden was also a part of her upbringing. Realizing her parents already gave her the culinary training needed to succeed, she entered the profession already having the necessary chef skills to make it. A veteran of many of Tulsa’s favorite kitchens, Nico led the culinary team as the founding Executive Chef at Duet Restaurant + Jazz, a modern American eatery and jazz club in the heart of the Tulsa Arts District. At Duet, Nico drew on her Acadian and Native American heritage and her affinity for Indigenous Mexican and New Orleans culture and cuisine when creating an original menu of vibrant, eclectic dishes that are simultaneously comforting and exotic. The eclectic jazz-inspired dishes featured classic southern, Indigenous, and world flavors, some of Tulsa’s favorites. Despite being laid off because of the restaurant business’s downturn due to the coronavirus, Nico took the opportunity to pursue her venture involving Indigenous foods. Now, as the Executive Chef and founder of Burning Cedar Indigenous Foods, a catering and consulting company providing traditional and modern Native cuisine, Nico devotes her time and passion for the revitalization of Indigenous cuisine to promote healing and wellness in the Native American community by providing healthy, traditionally-inspired catering options and educational events. “It is our passion to tell the stories of Native America through the language of food,” Nico explains. “We create positive narratives about Native peoples in our own words, through public relations, outreach, and delicious meals.” In addition to catering, Nico offers consulting services to provide information about tribal food sovereignty, conservation, and Indigenous food traditions. Her efforts to steadily expand her knowledge of traditional ingredients and techniques continue through research and collaboration with Indigenous chefs and traditionalists from all Nations. Welcome, Nico! Will you explain your unique upbringing and heritages, as both your upbringing and backgrounds certainly inspire your cooking today. I am a citizen of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma. I was born in Bakersfield, California; I spent my childhood there, in Northern CA, and the Salt River Valley of Arizona before moving to Northeastern, Oklahoma, in my early 20s. My father is Acadian (a somewhat isolated agrarian community of descendants of French settlers in Eastern Canada’s Maritime provinces, some of whom are also descended from the Indigenous peoples of the region). On my mother’s side, I am a descendant of the Adair family of Cherokees, whose homelands before removal were the Appalachian Mountains in the region now known as Georgia. How did you learn how to cook? What were some of



the things you knew that you apply to your cooking today? I was very fortunate to grow up in a home where my mother made dinner, mostly from scratch, and every evening we sat down to eat at the dinner table as a family. My mother had her repertoire of family recipes that she made regularly and loved to experiment in her baking. I was always in the kitchen, watching, learning, and helping her. My father is also a great cook; he’s the master of creating soup from everything in the fridge that needs to be used up, so nothing ever went to waste in our house! My mother is also an avid gardener (as was my grandmother before she passed), so watching our food grow as a part of my upbringing. When I entered the world of professional cooking, I realized that my parents had already given me a lot of the culinary training I needed to succeed. I came to the professional kitchen already having the necessary chef skills like knifework, baking, multi-tasking/timing, cleanliness/organization, and food waste management.

standards - classic compositions that are a part of a repertoire - that musicians use as a foundation on which to improvise. I applied that improvisational jazz concept to food by choosing familiar classic dishes as a base and riffing on those dishes by adding different flavors and ingredients to create something fresh and new. It was an excellent opportunity to introduce people to indigenous ingredients and flavors in an approachable way. I look at each meal or menu as a way to communicate with people, to share the things I’m passionate about. So, in many ways, the menus at Duet spoke my journey up to that point. The Acadian food my father made when I was growing up, the southwestern flavors that permeated my youth, the Indigenous Mexican flavors I learned from Oaxacan cooks I worked with over the years, the Cajun, Creole, and soul food I fell in love with in New Orleans, and the Indigenous ingredients and dishes that express my Cherokee identity; they are a patchwork of flavors and ideas that tell my story on a plate.

How do you incorporate ancestral knowledge through modern techniques in your cooking? Why is this important? Native people, when we are mentioned, are often referred to in the past tense as historical figures without a place in the modern world. This lack of representation has perpetuated damaging myths and stereotypes that directly affect policy, discrimination, and Native communities’ economic disparities. By combining our ancestral ingredients and techniques with modern recipes and dishes in new creative ways, we challenge that negative “past-tense” perspective and replace it with a positive, accurate, forward-thinking narrative that brings Native culture into a contemporary context. Food is a language that all people understand and relate to, so it’s the perfect medium to reach a greater audience and increase Native visibility. Through our resiliency, we carry our ancestral ways with us into the future; we build on our ancestors’ teachings and continue to innovate as a vibrant and creative part of the modern culinary world.

How do you revitalize healthy Indigenous cuisine to promote healing and wellness? Why is this important? Indigenous cuisine is inherently healthy. Our ancestors didn’t have packaged or processed foods; they had whole ingredients–both foraged and cultivated from ancestral seeds– such as vegetables, fruits, nuts, grains, and game, which were never subjected to genetic manipulation has stripped their commercially available counterparts of their nutrients. They also prepared them minimally, which kept all of the vital nutrients in those foods intact. As a recipe takes its ingredients further away from their raw form, the nutritional value diminishes, along with the positive healing effects it will have on our bodies. So the goal is to replace the packaged, processed, and genetically manipulated ingredients we have come to rely on with nutrient-packed indigenous ingredients, preferably from tribal sources, so that our bodies can benefit from the foods we eat, strengthen, and heal over time.

Your cooking at Duet Restaurant was memorable for many guests during your tenure; how were you able to offer such a vast array of cuisines such as Native American, Acadian, indigenous Mexican, and New Orleanian? I was fortunate that the Duet owners, Tuck and Kate Curren, gave me a lot of space and freedom to explore all of my culinary influences. They approached me about five months before the restaurant opening to create the menu, and their vision for the menu was modern American cuisine with bright, vibrant, dynamic flavors. Being that Duet is a restaurant and jazz club, I used jazz as an inspiration for the menu. Jazz music often begins with jazz

What are some of the creativity, cooking techniques, and cultural food preparations you know that you apply to your cooking today? From an early age, my father taught me to build a proper fire. Our family vacations were always camping trips, with “real” camping in tents, where we hiked all day and cooked our meals over the coals of our campfire. That skill came in handy in my career when I became the Sous Chef and then Head Chef of a restaurant called Lucky’s, where we prepared food over a wood-fire grill. I was in my element, guiding that fire through each busy day of service. Now in my work as a caterer of Indigenous foods, I continue to build on my relationship with that fire to prepare food

the way my ancestors did. I also continue to be inspired by the nixtamalization technique for preparing corn. The scientific knowledge our ancestors possessed, to take elements of the earth–the wood ash, water, and corn–and combine them in a way that unlocks life-giving nutrients and has such a wide variety of culinary applications, is awe-inspiring. And is there anything more comforting than a warm bowl of hominy stew cooked over a fire? We talked about incorporating regional Indigenous cuisine and cultural food prep earlier; how do you teach that to others? Why is that vital? How does this showcase your Native heritage to your clients? When it comes to most people’s knowledge of Indigenous cuisine, I am often starting at square one, even in Native communities. Frybread and Indian tacos are usually the extent of peoples’ understanding of Native American food! As a direct result of colonization, a lot of Native families were removed from their traditional foodways, so the ingredients and dishes I prepare can be either unfamiliar or thought of as strictly ceremonial instead of being incorporated into daily meals. It goes without saying that for non-Native people, it is an altogether new concept that Indigenous people have such a rich and diverse spectrum of culinary traditions. When I teach cooking

“Indigenous cuisine is inherently healthy.” classes or give talks about food sovereignty, I love to present indigenous foods with an element of storytelling that ties the ingredients to my people’s history and origins to provide the food with that emotional connection. Once people experience the emotional memory of a story or learn about an Indigenous food source that they can form a connection with, I can show them how to work those ingredients into modern everyday life, even in small ways, so that they can begin to re-establish a relationship to the land through food and memory. What does the future look like for you and your business? The limitations imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic have certainly put a damper on our usual gatherings and events. Still, it has also expanded my horizons to the world of virtual demos and food discussions, which has allowed me to make connections across a much wider distance than before. In keeping with the spirit of creativity and resilience, I am still finding ways to share Indigenous foods locally in a safe, socially-distanced way. Catch updates and find more information at burningcedar.com.




Storytelling in Ink Muscogee Creek, Colville, Salish-Kootenai, and Cherokee tattoo artist and actress Nathalie Standingcloud is slowly solidifying her unique style of bringing her culturally-inspired artwork to life by way of tattooing in the tattooing world’s final frontier. BY KELLY HOLMES



Meet Nathalie Standingcloud, the Oklahoma-based tattoo artist with a kickass attitude and style to match. She’s slowly solidifying her unique style of bringing her culturally-inspired artwork to life by way of tattooing. Originally from Tahlequah, Oklahoma, Nathalie makes her living as an artist, both in ink and on stage. While she tattoos and is an exceptional drawer and painter, Nathalie is also an emerging actress, starring in the recent short film “Totsu (Redbird)”. Nathalie’s organic cultural work and tattoo craftsmanship stand out immediately in a world of played-out, overdone “trending” tattoos. She continues to hone in her signature style of tattooing, which is clearly evident in her work: incredibly crisp and clean linework with master shading and shadowing. Even her creative talent for composing and drawing motives adds to her versatility and flexibility to tattoo pretty much anything you throw at her: pop culture icons, animals, and skulls; not to mention her famous Sailor

Jerry renditions are brilliant. Nathalie’s growing trademark style is also known for incorporating her tribe’s patterns and basketry, as well as artwork and symbolisms of stories shared through the generations into her tattoos. Nathalie believes she brings storytelling and language tattooing from her point-of-view as a Native American artist. “If there’s a chance I can put Cherokee syllabary into a design, I want to try to do that and make sure it’s accurate,” she says. Nathalie takes inspiration from her culture’s stories and visuals like basket and pottery patterns or syllabi to create unique designs for tattooing. Nathalie’s love and interest in tattoos and art began with her father. Since he was incarcerated throughout most of her childhood, Nathalie received letters from him decorated by his hand. “I even received a portrait he drew of me,” Nathalie recalls. According to Nathalie, while in prison, her father got tattooed and learned how to tattoo others, where he got good at it. He was so good; he was the only person Nathalie’s

mother trusted to give Nathalie her first tattoo. “It had to be meaningful and small enough to hide since I was only sixteen years old,” she explains. Her first tattoo was a blue jay, which was inspired by her Native name. “My maternal Salish grandmother gave me the name Qwasqwi [blue jay] after my great-great-grandmother, and we translated that into Cherokee syllabary so the design would, in a way, combine both my mom’s and dad’s tribes,” says Nathalie. “It was put on the back of my neck so I could hide it with my hair.” Her father also had a hand in Nathalie tattooing someone for the first time. When she was eighteen years old, Nathalie wanted to learn to tattoo while watching her father tattoo on her boyfriend at the time, which was a large geo tribal eagle on his chest. “He showed me the basics of what he learned over the years. He did the linework first and told me to fill in all the black spaces and to stay inside the lines.” Nathalie admits the big solid black shading took the pressure off of making mistakes and made great practice for her first time getting used to the machine’s weight and vibration. “I caught on quickly and loved the feeling of putting art permanently on skin.” Her father’s age and past inspired Nathalie to become the first official professional tattoo artist in her family. “My dad felt that his chance at becoming licensed in a shop was gone, but that only inspired me to finish his journey, so I pursued an apprenticeship.” The talent and experience she received from her father gave Nathalie an edge when she started tattooing in the shop under her sponsor. The apprenticeship helped her learn about running a business and learning the proper techniques when performing tattoo procedures in a sterile work environment. “I was also given the privilege of purchasing professional machines with my license, and working with those greatly improved the quality of my tattoos. Nathalie enjoys doing cover-up tattoos because of the level of difficulty, which gives her the chance to know clients on a more personal level. She’s covered many things, from bad tattoos to scars, even party dots. “Designing using what is already there challenges my creativity,” she says. “If a client has a tattoo or anything else they are self-conscious about, it can affect not only their self-esteem but also the way they carry themselves daily while trying to hide it.” Nathalie sees an immediate positive reaction from clients after the tattoo is done, which she believes helped them overcome a bad memory. “There have been times I’ve had to be extra patient with some people because their trust was already broken from the previous artist who had given them a


OUTFIT DETAILS Mask: Tanae Wapskineh (Mvskoke); IG: @ tanaedesigns Clay beaded jewelry: Kathy Sierra (Cherokee) Black Lives Are Sacred top: Keli Gonzales (Cherokee); IG: @sideshow_Kel Skirt: Kenny Glass (Cherokee); IG: @kendoll49 Belt: Candessa Tehee (Cherokee); website: cherokeeweaving.com


bad tattoo. Trust means everything to me.” A client trusting Nathalie gives her more confidence to put all her perfection energy into a tattoo, helping clients gain more self-esteem. “I enjoy helping my clients feel good about themselves, even if that means covering up my old designs and changing it into something new.” Nathalie still sees stigma attached to tattooing in Oklahoma. Oklahoma seems like the last frontier for tattoos, since before 2006, most people had to drive out of state to get their ink. Although tattooing in Oklahoma is legal now, folks in the state still get their tattoos in places that can be hidden. But Nathalie still enjoys small tattoos. “I enjoy the small secret tattoos just as much as the large outgoing sleeves.” Some of the changes Nathalie’s seen in the last few years are Native people getting traditional patterns on their fingers or arms, alongside leg bands. For Nathalie, social media has changed the tattoo world in both positive and negative ways. “It’s become more challenging as an artist to be original because some clients are set on getting

OUTFIT DETAILS Sweater: Mia Riddle (Choctaw); IG: @anubis_ the_angel Clay beaded necklace: Kathy Sierra (Cherokee) Gold & Pink acrylic earrings: Kristin Gentry (Choctaw); website: kristingentry.com Silver ring: Nathalie Standingcloud

the same tattoo that’s trending,” Nathalie explains. “Some tattoos online have been Photoshopped and create unrealistic design ideas.” But social media has helped the tattoo world explode with a variety of styles from all over the globe and has helped connect artists and clients. “I’ve had a couple of out-of-state clients who found me on social media. It’s a great tool if used in a positive way to get inspired and get connected and also help change the negative stigmas.” Tattooing also helped Nathalie become a better artist and painter. “Tattooing has brought me a lot more focus and confidence in my paintings when before I would struggle to finish most of my artwork.” While learning how to tattoo, Nathalie had to learn to trust herself because she knew that tattooing on someone was permanent, unlike painting on canvas. “It made things more serious, so I had to do my best to be as perfect as possible.” But this helped Nathalie become less serious with painting and more confident in her artwork outside tattooing. “Painting without fear or too much judgment because it’s my artwork

on my canvas.” An emerging tattoo artist herself in a world of ego, Nathalie isn’t hesitant to talk about a fellow Native woman tattoo artist she respects and appreciates. “Kira Murillo!” she excitedly says. “She’s a Shoshone-Bannock and Pima tattoo artist from NDN Time Studios in Pocatello, Idaho.” Though she doesn’t have any large visible tattoos due to her acting career, Nathalie wouldn’t waver letting Kira cover up one of her arms or legs. “I’ve been a fan and follower of her work online for a while now and have bought her clothing. Her style is clean and sharp and very vibrant in color.” Kira Murillo’s tattoos are signature, with some ranging from large symmetrical geo patterns to beaded floral. “It’s awesome to be able to recognize a Murillo tattoo because of how skillfully she’s been able to show her culture through tattoo design consistently. I aspire to be like her in my own way.” Some of the creativity, techniques, and preparations Nathalie applies to her tattooing today have been working with different mediums, including going digital. Nathalie often works with

OUTFIT DETAILS Mask: Tanae Wapskineh (Mvskoke); IG: @tanaedesigns White fur earrings: Dezbah Rose (Zoyaha, Anishinaabe, Diné) Denim top & graphic top: Mia Riddle (Choctaw); IG: @anubis_the_angel

“I think it’s important to keep passing on these visuals that come from my Native heritage.” other mediums to prevent getting burnt out tattooing all the time, such as beading, wood-burning, graphic design, silversmithing with her grandmother, and painting on jean jackets. “I spend a lot of time on my iPad, as going digital has been the biggest gamechanger in my tattoo techniques.” Nathalie makes it a point to make her Cherokee/Creek/ Salish-Kootenai/Colville heritages visible in her designs and artwork that utilize familiar elements or symbols. Even if it’s the focus of the entire design or in the smallest details, she somehow

incorporates her tribes’ beadwork patterns, pottery, clothing as references, animals or characters of stories, or the languages’ syllabi. Nathalie likes to tattoo the Uktena often, a popular horned serpent or dragon character in Cherokee stories. “Because of where I live, most of my art consists of Cherokee and Creek themes here in Oklahoma, whereas I’m beginning to learn more about my northern maternal tribes’ art on my Salish and Colville side from Montana and Washington,” she explains. “I think it’s important to keep passing on these visuals that come from my Native heritage.”


OUTFIT DETAILS Belt & matching gold & black earrings + bracelet: Candessa Tehee (Cherokee); website: cherokeeweaving.com Skirt: Kenny Glass (Cherokee); IG: @kendoll49 Top: Reclaim Your Power (Awkwesasne Mohawk); IG: @reclaimyourpower 32 | NATIVE MAX MAGAZINE


Modern-Day War Paint Meet six Native American makeup artists and enthusiasts who are reclaiming and embracing their Native beauty and showcasing their heritage and pride through makeup.


Julie Spoonhunter (Northern Arapaho) “I’m a small-town makeup enthusiast whose passion happens to be makeup. The feelings of joy and confidence it brings are uplifting. And personally speaking for myself, it also serves as a small escape and is even like therapy. In 2013, my interest in makeup just began, and like anyone else starting something new, I didn’t know a lot. I’m self-taught with the help of YouTube videos. Throughout the years, I’ve always learned new things and my techniques slowly got better and better. From 2018 to now, I have provided my makeup services for a few weddings (brides & bridesmaids), prom, and anyone in general who has wanted their makeup done. It’s an amazing and humble feeling to know that I can help women feel beautiful, confident, and accentuate their beauty. The makeup world is huge and to just be in the smallest midst of it makes me feel ecstatic.”

@badayezz_ beauty


About the looks: “The inspiration for this super intense cat eye with a gold cut crease and a pop of turquoise for the bottom lash was channeling my inner drama queen. For someone to take one look and have the thought of, “Wow, that’s dramatic!” I feel like I achieved that with this look. My insight for the halo eye look was to be more on the softer side of things but still come through with the glam. The dark yellow, orange, red, and deep purple colors came together and created almost like a sunset type of look. I later added the red line across my face to signify the bloodline of being Native American.”

Tania Estrada (Diné) “My name is Taina Estrada, and I am from Arizona, born and raised on the Navajo Nation. I have always had a passion for makeup. I wore it throughout my teen years into adulthood. In 2016, I attended Aveda Institute Phoenix full-time to pursue my passion for facials and makeup. In July of 2016, I became Aveda alumni and took my state boards to pass the Arizona and Colorado exam. I have been and still am a licensed esthetician and professional MUA in both states. Being dual-licensed is amazing! My love for makeup continues every day. There’s no limit to learning. The sky is the limit. Before this pandemic, I did many fashion shows, photoshoots, weddings and special events in the state of Arizona. I still do what I can during this pandemic but always in a safe manner. The goal I’m working towards now is to be the owner of my business and launch an eyeshadow palette out representing my Navajo culture soon.” About the look: “My look represents my culture and heritage as a Navajo woman through makeup. There’s a saying the Navajo have, and it’s, “Walk in Beauty.” Just three little words that form a strong statement alone. As a Navajo woman, beauty is in her strength and the way she carries herself. My makeup look represents the design of native culture. The turquoise and coral represent the standard colors of Navajo jewelry made by talented artists. Turquoise represents happiness, luck, and health and is worn for beauty and pride. Coral represents success and social prominence, a sign of wealth and status.”


Nookwakwii “Snowy” White (Anishinaabe) “My name is Nookwakwii, a northern (Anishinaabe/Ojibwe) word meaning “when it snows in the Spring after the birds have returned,” and everyone calls me Snowy. I am an enrolled member of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe, Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe, and currently reside in West St. Paul, Minnesota. I am a champion jingle-dress dancer at pow-wows throughout the US and Canada, and I am a beadwork artist, and enjoy sewing traditional ribbon skirts in my spare time. I have been featured on the cover page of Native Max Magazine’s December/January 2018 edition as a model for the IamAnishinaabe Native apparel brand. I love the make-up! I love using make-up to create a diverse range of looks all with a strong foundation in my Native culture.” About the Look: “The look I’ve created here is inspired by the Great Lakes Woodland floral designs traditional to the landscape from where my ancestors have always lived. The colors purple, pink, and green evoked a sense of happiness for me. I decided to place the flower over my eye since the eyes are the ‘windows to your soul.’”




Niez Marie Aguirre “My heritage consists of the present, past, and future. The simultaneous awareness of all three provides a level of responsibility and integrity to the work I put into all my projects. Our Mother Earth is filled with an abundance of gifts bestowed by creator. Her resilient ability to blossom under the most unexpected places is a guiding example. I commit to following in mother earth’s lead and recognizing our duty to protect her for the generations who have came, the ones that are here now, and the ones who shall follow.” About the look: “Using the tones and colors of nature as an inspiration has always been present in my work. The Roses Vibrant eye glam was used to display precisely that. Roses are strikingly vibrant and beautiful. The tones of pinks and reds connect me to the gracefulness and radiance of the blossoming flower. The deeper tones are mesmerizing and accentuate the velvet-like petals.”


Stevie Tobacco (Oglala & Mnicoujou Lakota) “My maiden name is Stevie Tobacco, and I am Oglala and Mnicoujou Lakota. I’m married to my high school sweetheart, who is a descendant of Chief Bigfoot. We have three beautiful babies together. I am also a registered nurse but currently, a stay-at-home mom where I love to express and explore my love for makeup.”


About the look: “I chose to do the milky way because it’s the path we take when we walk on.”

Quilapiza Sorimpt (Colville) “I am from the Colville Confederated tribes of the Colville Reservation. I grew up in Seattle, Washington. I started doing makeup about five years ago but didn’t get serious until about three years ago after getting clean of substance abuse and a miscarriage. After my miscarriage, I wanted to do makeup to make myself feel good, look great-feel-great kind of thing. But I was crying inside. I came home from the hospital and sat down to do my everyday makeup. Then came across a picture of a beautiful warrior with a face full of paint. I decided to paint my face to uplift myself, something I never have done before. I didn’t have paint and used lipstick and eyeshadow to make it happen. When I finished, I got a call and was asked to go to the grocery store. I was covered in full warpaint. I didn’t care. My heart was too broken. I went to the store and was stared at by so many, like a rockstar. I got in line to pay, and another customer asked me, “are you real? I thought your people were gone?” I smiled at the ridiculous question and replied, “we are still here.” When I got home, I realized, “we are still here.” Nobody recognizes us because we look like everyone else. We were forbidden to wear our traditional makeup. And now we are free to do so as we wish. The world shows us true beauty is to look like Kim Kardashian or Kylie Jenner, or those models in magazines, so we all look the same. No beauty is more exotic than our own. And we forgot our ways. We can wear our traditions proudly now. Yes, everyone that looks the same is quickly forgotten. But nobody forgets an Indigenous beauty who wears her culture proudly like a warrior. I am a warrior. I am a descendant of warriors who have given their lives and their ways so I can be free. To honor them, I paint my face like a warrior. I paint my face because no beauty is more exotic than my own. And I’ll wear it to honor those who weren’t free to do so.” @quilapiza1982



ING UP WINTER Time to warm up this winter, featuring Native American-made coats and jackets.


Angela DeMontigny (Cree/Metis) is an internationally-renowned, Indigenous Canadian designer. Her custom made and ready-to-wear, all leather clothing collections, bold accessories, and statement jewelry collections have been sold in specialty boutiques and galleries throughout North America and Europe since 1995. DeMontigny is one of the leading, authentic, Indigenous designers in North America, attracting the interest of accomplished singers, performers, and other high-profile personalities from across Canada and the U.S. DeMontigny's original collections showcase the most elegant examples of her Indigenous heritage made in luscious leather and suede with exciting finishes like unique metallics and details such as fringe, cutwork and hand beading. Her leather and shearling coats, skirts, evening dresses, and casual pieces, unique jewelry, and all leather bags are not only luxurious but functional and timeless. Starlight Leather/Shearling Trench, $ 3,375.00 CAD, angelademontigny.com


Ginew (Gih-noo) is the only Native American-owned denim line. Using meticulously sourced materials, we incorporate elements of our Ojibwe, Oneida, & Mohican heritage to express a contemporary Native American voice through our premium apparel and accessories. Ginew is NativeAmericana, fusing Native American and enduring styles. Thunderbird Coat $ 695.00; ginewusa.com

Photo credit: Sean Michael Carr (IG: @seanmcarr) Model: Anna Harris (IG: @ maiamon)


A member of Temagami First Nation Lesley Hampton (Anishinaabe Mohawk Scottish Canadian) is a multi-disciplinary artist, designer, and creative director located in northern Ontario and also has ties to Akwesasne, located on the border of Ontario, Quebec, and the United States. She grew up internationally and uses her fashion and art to reclaim her identity and culture while fighting for mental health awareness, body positivity, and authentic representation in fashion, film, and media. “The ‘S’ Word” - The FW2020 collection is inspired by the reclamation of the words used to describe Native people. From growing up hearing the Pocahontas song, “Savages”, to the many new stories of Indigenous people that alienate Native people, these colonial narratives are always defined by stereotypes and are often never authentic portrayals. Wool Jacket with Train, $ 1,200.00, lesleyhampton.com

Photo credit: Billie Chiasson (IG: @billiechiasson) Model: Sarain Fox (IG: @ sarainfox)




Profile for Native Max Magazine

Native Max Magazine - November/December 2020  

Welcome to the Native American Heritage Issue, featuring Muscogee Creek, Colville, Salish-Kootenai, and Cherokee tattoo artist and actress N...

Native Max Magazine - November/December 2020  

Welcome to the Native American Heritage Issue, featuring Muscogee Creek, Colville, Salish-Kootenai, and Cherokee tattoo artist and actress N...